Friday, September 11, 2009

Wow, What a Weekend!

Smith River Fest 2009 has now come to a close, but what a fun event it was! If you made it out to some of the festivities, thanks for your support.
A huge thank you to Dominion for adjusting the generation schedule to allow for 3 days of water over the long weekend !! In case you didn't get to experience Smith River Fest first-hand, here are some highlights from the weekend.
Smith River Film Festival
The Smith River Film Fest was a fun night out at the movies with more than 100 guests in attendance. We laughed at bloopers, sat in awe of mother nature, and enjoyed the scenic beauty of the Smith River. Read what the Martinsville Bulletin said about the event here.

Film Contest winners were:
3rd Place: "Suprise on the Smith River" by Andy Parker. A delightful film about a friendly otter on the Smith River. In the film, Andy and "Ollie" the Otter have quite a conversation of chirps, squeeks, and whistles as the curious animal scopes out the humans floating though his home.

2nd Place: "Troop 168 on the River" by Betti Seale & James Whitlow. This series of clips shows about 20 scouts in Boy Scout Troop 168 enjoying a day on the Smith River and the carnage that ensues as they paddle over Eggleston Falls, a series of rapids near Ridgeway.  According to Mr. Whitlow, the boys really enjoyed falling out of their boats and swimming in the cool water! This film also won the Best Wipeout Award.
and the first place trophy went to....

Linda Drage for "A Safety Short: Learning to Kayak"! In Linda's comical film, she relays safety tips that she learned while attending an intermediate kayak class offered by Smith River Adventure Outfitters. To illustrate her lessons, Linda superimposed her face onto photos of boaters from around the world as she demonstrated what to do and not do while paddling. Clever tips and witty humor definately made this film a crowd pleaser.

Due to popular demand an encore showing of the film festival will be held at the Philpott Lake Visitor's Center this fall, exact date TBA. Stay tuned for more details.

Start filming your river adventures now in preparation for the 2010 Smith River Film Festival, but please be safe while on the river. You can take a lesson from Jennifer & Paddler Bob!

DRBA's Gear Swap
Since this was the first time that DRBA has ever held a Gear Swap, we were unsure of what to expect. Boy were we suprised when more than 150 people showed up to shop for recreational gear! Many good deals were claimed including two kayaks, life jackets, kid's swimsuits with built in floatation, hiking and paddling gear, t-shirts, bike racks, and a mountain bike. A DRBA supporter even brought out free biking and paddling shirts to distribute among the crowd.

Due to the overwhelming interest in buying second-hand recreational gear, another Gear Swap is being planned for March 2010. If you have equipment that you would like to offer for sale or trade, please contact Jennifer Doss to get more information on the upcoming event. 276-634-2545 or

The Main Event

Smith River Fest 2009 on Labor Day was tons of fun; more than 250 visitors came out to enjoy the live music, food, vendors, and of course the river! Special thanks to our vendors: Doss Nature Photography, Martinsville Leisure Services, Tom Perry, Henry County Parks & Recreation, US Army Corps of Engineers, MALUJOMA Energy, Activate Martinsville Henry County, Friends of Philpott, Troublesome Creek Outfitters, Three River Outfitters, Smith River Adventure Outfitters, Southwestern Piedmont Master Naturalists, and the Community Nature Initiative.

Visitors to the Labor Day event came from as far away as Georgia, Richmond, Fredricksburg, Greensboro, Roanoke, and Raleigh to paddle the Smith River.
The highlight of the day was the first ever Smith River Canoe/Kayak Race hosted by Franklin County Department of Tourism. Winners for the six mile race were:

Kayak Male Adult
1. Tom Eick 0:41:27
2. Dave Segars 0:42:43
3. Derek Keaton 0:48:11

Kayak Male Senior
1. Scott Keaton 0:48:07
2. Sam Keaton 0:48:17
3. Andy Parker 0:53:10

Canoe Solo Male Adult
1. Dale Swanson 0:50:27
2. Marlo Crawford 0:52:52

Canoe Solo Male Senior
1. Charles Strauss 0:48:42

Canoe Solo Male Super Senior
1. Ed Sharp 0:46:53

Canoe Tandem Adult
1. Tom Blue & Tom Blue Sr. 0:50:28

Canoe Tandem Senior
1. Kirk Havens & Jim Farrington 0:41:35
2. Conny Roussos & David Thomas 0:44:35

On behalf of the Dan River Basin Association and it's Martinsville Henry County Rivers & Trails Group we would like to thank all who participated in the second annual Smith River Fest on Labor Day. If you have ever been involved in planning a festival, you are extremely aware that it takes an "army' of staff and volunteers to make a safe and enjoyable day of activities for a wide variety of participants. The 2009 Smith River Fest was a partnership between Henry County Parks and Recreation Department, Franklin County Tourism and the Dan River Basin Association. This event was only possible due to the cooperation and support of these organizations dedicated to making the Smith River a recreational destination. The Labor Day activities held at the Bassett Canoe Access were a success due to the extremely dedicated efforts of people like Roger Adams, Henry County Parks and Recreation, Debra Weir, Franklin County Tourism and many others in both counties that dedicated their time and efforts to the event. Thanks to the Franklin County Tourism Department who organized conducted the river race held at River Fest this year. Finanical support came from many contributors including Martinsville Henry County Tourism, Henry County Parks and Recreation, Franklin County Tourism and others. We'd like to thank all the partners, volunteers and staff that contributed to this event including: The Henry County Sheriffs Department, Henry and Franklin county emergency personal, The Franklin county Swift water Rescue team, Bassett Industries, Lonnie Tatum, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Dominion, and all the organizations that participated in the events of the day. A huge thank you for all involved in making this event possible!
--Brian Williams and Jennifer Doss, Dan River Basin Association
Don't forget! Official Smith River Fest T-shirts are still available from Henry County Parks & Recreation for $10 and post cards from the event are available from Doss Photography for $1. Get them while supplies last!

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